The Metaverse does not yet exist. At the moment, it is a vision of the future of the internet.
One problem facing its development is that current problems with the internet — like misinformation, privacy issues, and security breaches — have not been solved. Inside the Metaverse, these problems could be amplified.
Thankfully, developers, consumers, voters, and regulators have the power to implement change.
MATTHEW BALL: Right now, the Metaverse doesn't exist. It's not something that we can go out and experience. We can't purchase a product. No company is going to reflect 'Metaverse revenues' on their income statement. It is an ambition. We, as a society, as people, did not evolve for thousands of years to interact with 2D interfaces. There's a belief that the Metaverse is a more intuitive way to express, to create, and to explore. What we're going to find is that an ever-growing share of our everyday interactions are happening inside a 3D-rendered environment or with 3D augmentation, like AR glasses.
Much like we already observed with younger generations, we'll start to see that seniors start to educate, to do physiotherapy, to see their doctor, to be analyzed in 3D real-time experiences. Also, we will see that in the near future, speaking to a customer associate will be presented in holography. Whenever you talk about holographics, people think of this as an impossible technology.
The truth is it is here- it's just expensive and not widely deployed. And so, those examples of going to the DMV and talking to a holographic representative, going to a retail store to try on clothes that are projected on top of you with a camera with a consultant telling you what's a good fit, having the measurements tuned based on gait analysis, that's not that far off. But in many instances, we'll find that the world around us has been built using these technologies- architecture and constructions are already using them today. Or we might walk through an industrial facility, such as an airport, which for all intents and purposes is in the Metaverse and has placed you there from the moment you set foot.
My biggest concerns about the Metaverse are that we're still struggling, and in many cases, failing to contend with current problems with the internet. Mis- and disinformation, privacy, data security- these are very serious issues, and frankly, there's evidence that they're getting worse each day. When we go to the Metaverse, the difficulty of these challenges will only increase. And at the same time, we'll probably lose some of the lessons from the last 15 years because they don't port over one-to-one. At the same time, I'm optimistic because I firmly believe that we have a once in every 15, 20 year chance to reset the playing field.
If we don't like a company that's leading, we don't like a business practice that's present, if we don't like the way in which the internet is run, we can affect who leads tomorrow. That doesn't cleanly give us the answer, 'How do you solve for radicalization or disinformation?'- but allows us to change who is making the call, and what are their incentives, and where do we spend our time- that's heard intergenerationally. As we succeed one era with a new one, we, and by we, I mean developers, consumers, voters, regulators, have an unprecedented opportunity to actually affect the world. The companies which lead us, the philosophies that we support, the business models that drive society. And so, understanding how the world is going to change- be digitally transformed in the years to come- is essential.
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